Friday, April 1, 2011

ARM Migrant Workers Now!

Some solutions are good. Some solutions are really good.
A Hilarious Read.

Coalition in Lebanon wants to arm maids with guns- Angie Nassar 


(Photo via keepschoolssafe.org)

Proving that almost no one is immune to the revolutionary Arab Spring “fever” spreading across the region, various groups in Lebanon have pushed in recent weeks for their own democratic movements. The Lebanese Want Fast Internet and Onternet campaigns are demanding faster Internet. And two groups: “The Lebanese People Want to Overthrow the Sectarian Regime” and “For Overthrowing the Sectarian Regime, Towards a Secular System,” are working to abolish confessionalism.

Now a new coalition calling itself “Maid to Defend,” wants to help combat Lebanon’s culture of racism by equipping the country’s domestic workers with guns.

“There is an urgent need to develop meaningful strategies for handling the country’s rampant prejudice, intolerance, and racism towards maids,” said Saleh Shehab, a spokesperson for the group.  

“Maids deserve to be protected too… if they can’t escape from this God-forsaken hell hole, at least we can give them a chance to defend themselves.”

Shehab said he was “fed up” after reading an EU-funded report published last week that said Lebanese society is "deeply racist.” According to the report, more than 90 percent of Iraqi and Sudanese refugees in Lebanon report that they experience racism, while more than 80 percent of Arab, African and Asian students, professors and tourists claim they are treated worse than their white counterparts.

More recently, on March 24, the government of Madagascar arranged for 86 maids who were abused by their employers to be returned to their home country.

“This is domestic terrorism. We demand these people – who are human beings just like you and me – be treated with the dignity they deserve. And they deserve to have guns,” Shehab said.

“Maid to Defend” has already been in touch with local domestic workers. One maid, who preferred to remain anonymous, welcomed the effort. “I tell the police, I tell everyone I can that my Madame beats me. They do nothing. I have no help. I just want to do my job, I don’t want to be hurt like this. It’s comforting to think I could have a gun next to my bedside and know that I can just pull the trigger if I have to.”

When asked about the possibility that the maids might turn the guns on themselves, Shehab said, “A gun should only be used for protection. But you’ve heard the saying: ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people'… so if you’re going to point the blame at anyone here, point it at the racists… point it at my fellow Lebanese.”

“Look, I realize that dedicated government officials have devoted a lot of time and effort into applying and enforcing laws against discrimination, but it’s just not working. The reality is: racism is a sick, sick disease in this country. And there’s only one way to cure this virus: with guns,” Shehab added.

“Just because someone is a domestic worker, doesn’t mean they don’t need a gun. No one follows the laws here anyway. Everyone has guns, not just certain armed militias accused of transferring weapons from Damascus to South Lebanon.”

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